Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

Origin of life theories discount the problem of degradation

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A friend noted this:

Hundreds of millions of years of “deep time” is frequently cited as the saving feature for the profound improbability of each step of the Stairway [to Life]. Yet time is only an ally of a slow constructive process if degradation is ignored. As a useful analogy, imagine the very slow construction of a house. The earthmovers clear the site and dig a foundation. The masons arrive one thousand years later and find a dense forest with a slight depression in one area. Nevertheless, they do their best to lay the foundation. After another thousand years, the carpenters arrive and find a dense forest and sparse remnants of cement and cinder block. Undaunted they construct the wooden frame of a house. The roofers arrive a thousand years later to find a dense forest and almost no detectable remnant of any prior construction effort. Clearly, a house can never be constructed in such a manner.

For abiogenesis, the situation is far worse. Here, the process of ascending the twelve steps of Figure 6 is thought to have occurred over hundreds of millions of years. The sources of energy that are thought to be needed for construction of larger and more complex molecules (i.e., thermal, radiation, ultraviolet light, electricity, etc.) are all quite capable of breaking larger molecules into smaller molecules. The thermodynamic drive to increase entropy can only be overcome by the continuous infusion of energy combined with the proper “engine” to convert the energy into a building process rather than a destructive process.

—The Stairway to Life: An Origin-Of-Life Reality Check, Change Laura Tan and Rob Stadler, p. 82.

You may also wish to read: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.

3 Replies to “Origin of life theories discount the problem of degradation

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    This process doesn’t even need a thousand years. Many ‘flips’ in my neighborhood get started, then pause for three or four years with the house wide open to the elements. Sheathing blows off, the interior gets wet, squatters and squirrels do more damage than they did before the opening. The next flipper has to start over from WORSE than the initial conditions. He makes some progress then runs out of money. Three years later another flipper tries….

    The process is even more obvious on a smaller scale of ambition and time. I make a start at cleaning up the bathroom, then get distracted and return a few DAYS later. Now I have to start all over.

    Why was this everyday occurrence neglected? Charitably, fossils and museums. Archeologists deal with fossils that have been accidentally PRESERVED from entropy, and they handle museum specimens that have been carefully organized and cleaned by active human intention.

    The question is

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    It is interesting to note, when working from the thermodynamic perspective, just how much information a ‘simple’ cell contains.

    The information content of a ‘simple’ cell, when working from the thermodynamic perspective, is found to be on the order of 10^12 bits,

    Molecular Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/18hO1bteXTPOqQtd2H12PI5wFFoTjwg8uBAU5N0nEQIE/edit

    To give an idea of just how impressive this amount of information is, 10^12 bits is equivalent to approx. 100 million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.”
    – R. C. Wysong – The Creation-evolution Controversy

    ‘The information content of a simple cell has been estimated as around 10^12 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
    Carl Sagan, “Life” in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-894

    And while that is certainly impressive, the information content of a human body is, of course, found to be far more impressive than that, i.e. “the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000.”

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/in-a-ted-talk-heres-the-question-you-may-not-ask/

    The burning question is, of course, where is all this information coming from?

    As ID advocates have been pointing out for decades now, unguided Darwinian processes are grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information.

    Conservation of information, evolution, etc – Sept. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel’s logical objection to Darwinian evolution:
    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).
    Gödel’s argument is that if evolution is unfolding from an initial state by mathematical laws of physics, it cannot generate any information not inherent from the start – and in his view, neither the primaeval environment nor the laws are information-rich enough.,,,
    More recently this led him (Dembski) to postulate a Law of Conservation of Information, or actually to consolidate the idea, first put forward by Nobel-prizewinner Peter Medawar in the 1980s. Medawar had shown, as others before him, that in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.,,,
    http://potiphar.jongarvey.co.u.....ution-etc/

    No Darwinist has ever demonstrated that unguided Darwinian processes have the capacity within themselves to create any non-trivial amounts of information. All information that we know the origin of has come only from intelligence.

    “We know generally that information, whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book or encoded in radio signals always arises from an intelligent source. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed, “Information habitually arises from conscious activity.” So the discovery of information in the DNA molecule provides strong grounds for inferring that intelligence played a role in the origin of DNA, even if we weren’t there to observe the system coming into existence.”
    – Stephen Meyer

    Moreover, (aside from the common sense inference that intelligence must be responsible for the massive amount of information we find in life), we now also have experimental evidence that intelligence, via imparting information into a system, can locally violate the second law in order to raise a system out of thermodynamic equilibrium.

    Specifically, as the following 2010 experimental realization of the Maxwell demon thought experiment found, “they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.”

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration (knowledge of a particle’s position) turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists in Japan are the first to have succeeded in converting information into free energy in an experiment that verifies the “Maxwell demon” thought experiment devised in 1867.,,, In Maxwell’s thought experiment the demon creates a temperature difference simply from information about the gas molecule temperatures and without transferring any energy directly to them.,,, Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    And as Christopher Jarzynski, who was instrumental in formulating the ‘equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information’, stated in response to the preceding experiment, “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,”

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    In. short, it is now experimentally shown that, when dealing with immaterial information, we are not just dealing with some abstract, non-physical, entity that has no causal effect on the material world, (as Darwinian materialists have tried to hold), but we are in fact dealing with an immaterial entity that has a quote-unquote “thermodynamic content” and that is now experimentally shown to be capable of raising a system out of thermodynamic equilibrium.

    Moreover, the connection between information and intelligence, in these experimental realizations of the Maxwell demon thought experiment, is a fairly direct connection.

    And as the following 2017 article states: James Clerk Maxwell (said), “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”,,,
    quantum information theory,,, describes the spread of information through quantum systems.,,,
    Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,”,, “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,

    The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution – May 2017
    Excerpt: the 19th-century physicist James Clerk Maxwell put it, “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”
    In recent years, a revolutionary understanding of thermodynamics has emerged that explains this subjectivity using quantum information theory — “a toddler among physical theories,” as del Rio and co-authors put it, that describes the spread of information through quantum systems. Just as thermodynamics initially grew out of trying to improve steam engines, today’s thermodynamicists are mulling over the workings of quantum machines. Shrinking technology — a single-ion engine and three-atom fridge were both experimentally realized for the first time within the past year — is forcing them to extend thermodynamics to the quantum realm, where notions like temperature and work lose their usual meanings, and the classical laws don’t necessarily apply.
    They’ve found new, quantum versions of the laws that scale up to the originals. Rewriting the theory from the bottom up has led experts to recast its basic concepts in terms of its subjective nature, and to unravel the deep and often surprising relationship between energy and information — the abstract 1s and 0s by which physical states are distinguished and knowledge is measured.,,,
    Renato Renner, a professor at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, described this as a radical shift in perspective. Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/quantum-thermodynamics-revolution/

    And as the following 2011 article stated, “It has previously been shown that such reversible deletion would generate no heat. In the new paper, the researchers go a step further. They show that when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,, an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer”

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 1, 2011
    Excerpt: The new study revisits Landauer’s principle for cases when the values of the bits to be deleted may be known. When the memory content is known, it should be possible to delete the bits in such a manner that it is theoretically possible to re-create them. It has previously been shown that such reversible deletion would generate no heat. In the new paper, the researchers go a step further. They show that when the bits to be deleted are quantum-mechanically entangled with the state of an observer, then the observer could even withdraw heat from the system while deleting the bits. Entanglement links the observer’s state to that of the computer in such a way that they know more about the memory than is possible in classical physics.,,,
    In measuring entropy, one should bear in mind that an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer. Applied to the example of deleting data, this means that if two individuals delete data in a memory and one has more knowledge of this data, she perceives the memory to have lower entropy and can then delete the memory using less energy.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    Although much more could be said about this subject, I will end this post by pointing out that, (unlike Darwinian advocates who have no experimental evidence that unguided material processes are capable of generating any non-trivial amounts of information over and above what it already present in life), ID advocates now have experimental evidence that ‘immaterial’ information is necessary to raise a system out of thermodynamic equilibrium, and also now have experimental evidence that this immaterial information that raises a system out of thermodynamic equilibrium must be the product of “an observer who describes a system.”

    In short, unlike Darwinian evolution, ID has now, for all intents and purposes, achieved direct experimental validation for its claim that Intelligence must be behind the information we find in life.

    Of supplemental note, a few millennia before we even realized that it must be immaterial information that is ‘running the show’ in life, and that is enabling life to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium, Christianity ‘predicted’ that life had an ‘author’.

    Acts 3:15
    You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

    Darwinists might not be all that impressed with the fact that the Bible predicted that life had a author long before we realized that it must be immaterial information that is ‘running the show’ in life, but I certainly am impressed with that ‘prediction’.

    In fact, I rank that ‘unique’ prediction of the Bible that life has an author right next to the unique ‘prediction’ of the Bible in Genesis 1:1. Which stated, (long before it was discovered), that the universe has not always existed, (as was the default assumption of ‘science’ prior to the discovery of the Big Bang), but that God created the entire universe in the beginning:

    Genesis 1:1
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  3. 3
    EugeneS says:

    Excellent quote, BUT even here the authors meet the abiogenesis camp halfway. We need to spell it out for our naturalist friends though that they must not smuggle in teleology: for them no goal should exist. Instead, each step in their imaginary multi-stage process should not be selected but should follow directly from the previous.

    And finally the biggest problem compared to which the above is dwarfing into insignificance, is the origin of information translation, i.e. the origin of the first translator and the first set of instructions for it. The existence of a (translator,code) pair really means complimentarity to the motion of matter, i.e. the existence of specific symbolic boundary conditions irreducible to the laws of motion. The existence of such constraints implementing the semantic closure of life, cannot be accounted for naturalistically. For it, you need to invoke goal setting, planning and execution logistics, i.e. correlates of intelligence. In other words, you need to invoke mind.

    That is a real killer. Not every naturalist is even aware of this. Some of them are, like Eugene Koonin. To his credit, he openly acknowledged the fact that there is no possibility for a naturalistic account of the origin of information translation. That is why he engaged into the multiverse business. Clever and knowledgeable naturalists like him should be fully aware that this is unfalsifiable. But that is another story.

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